Man’s Value



An Arab came to the presence of Imam Husayn saying, “O son of Allah’s Messenger! I have undertaken to pay blood money but I cannot afford it. I said to myself: I will ask it from the most generous man and I don’t find anyone more generous than Ahl al-Bayt.”

The Imam said, “O Arab brother! I will ask you three questions. Should you answer one of them, I will give you a third of what you need. If you answer the second question, I will give you two-thirds of it and finally if you answer all the three questions, I will give to you all you need.”

The Arab said, “Will you—man of knowledge and honor—ask questions from such a person as me?” The Imam said, “Yes, I heard my grandfather saying: everyone’s value is to the extent of his knowledge.”

The Arab said, “All right, ask me your questions. I will answer if I can. Even if I can’t answer your questions, I will learn them from you.”

The Imam asked, “What is the best deed?” The Arab said, “Belief in Allah.”

 The Imam asked, “What is salvation?” The Arab said, “Trust in Allah.”

The Imam asked, “What is an ornament for men?” The Arab said, “Knowledge accompanied with forbearance.”

The Imam said, “What if there were no forbearance?” The Arab said, “A wealth accompanied by generosity.”

The Imam said, “What if there was no generosity?” The Arab said, “Indigence accompanied by patience.”

The Imam said, “What if there was no patience?” The Arab said, “A thunderbolt coming down from heaven to burn such a person who deserves it.”

The Imam smiled, gave him a purse of one thousand Dinars as well as his ring with a gem worth two hundred Dirhams saying, “O Arab! Give the one thousand Dinars to your creditors and leave the ring for living expenditures.”

 The Arab took them reading the holy verse,

اللّهُ أَعْلَمُ حَيْثُ يَجْعَلُ رِسَالَتَهُ

Allah best knows where He places His message. (6:124) [7]

[7] Jami` al-Akhbar: 137, Chapter: 96.

Author: Allama Hussein Ansariyan
Translator: Dr. Ali Akbar Aghili Ashtiani

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